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The Vertical Initiative

An employee-led community giving program

Through the Vertical Initiative, our employees collectively select an organization to grant a $50,000 donation to on their behalf. It is our hope that the roots of the Vertical Initiative will extend far beyond its financial impact in our communities, and further serve to spark ongoing conversations among our team on how to remain actively engaged in creating a more inclusive society where we as a company have historically fallen short. As we work and hold ourselves accountable to this change, it is equally important that we are listening to the ideas, passions and voices of our team members as we build a more equitable society together. At this time, we are launching the Vertical Initiative with a minimum five year continuation commitment, with a desire to see the program grow in perpetuity. 

Furthermore, should any individual employee wish to make an independent financial contribution to any organization that serves underrepresented populations within our community, Domaine Serene will match 200% of that donation as part of the Vertical Initiative.

This year the employee vote was a tie between two organizations. We will be donating $25,000 to each organization. Those organizations are: 

Urban League of Portland - Urban League of Portland is one of Oregon’s oldest civil rights and social service organizations, empowering African-Americans and others to achieve equality in education, employment, health, economic security and quality of life. Anna Downing is the liaison for this organization as we engage with them over the next year in a variety of ways to include employee education. 

ACLU of Oregon - The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon (ACLU of Oregon) is an advocacy organization dedicated to defending and advancing civil liberties and civil rights through work in the courts, in the legislature, and in communities. We fight for free speech, racial justice, criminal justice reform, religious liberty, reproductive rights, LGBT rights, immigrants' rights, and more. The ACLU of Oregon is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to the defending and advancing civil liberties and civil rights. They believe that the freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people. They advance and defend civil liberties and civil rights through activities that include litigation, education, and lobbying. 


Evenstads Establish New Scholarship at Linfield
to Increase Diversity in Wine Industry

June 11, 2020 – Domaine Serene Winery, founded by Grace and Ken Evenstad, is donating $500,000 to Linfield College to increase diversity in the wine industry. The gift will establish an endowed scholarship for underrepresented populations in the college’s wine studies program, allowing more students to receive a top-rated wine education at an affordable cost.

“Our entire team is immensely pleased to contribute toward Linfield’s scholarship fund in this dedicated and meaningful way,” said Ryan Harris, president of Domaine Serene Winery. “It is an expression of our longstanding commitment toward enriching the diversity of the winemaking field and supporting underrepresented communities, and a heartfelt way for us to put our values into action.”

The Evenstads are longtime supporters of Linfield College, giving $6 million in 2018 to establish the Evenstad Center for Wine Education and previously hosting cooperative on-site educational programs at the winery in Dundee and study abroad trips for Linfield students at the Evenstad’s French winery, Château de la Crée in Burgundy.

“The Evenstads have been generous donors to Linfield, allowing us to greatly expand the wine education program and to include the Evenstad Wine Laboratory as part of our new science building,” said Linfield President Miles K. Davis. “Their new donation provides for an endowed scholarship for underrepresented minorities, which is critically important. We are grateful for the Evenstads generosity and look forward to being able to deploy these new financial resources to help our students, especially in these difficult times.”

The Evenstad Center for Wine Education at Linfield integrates numerous wine education programs and activities into academic and experiential learning for student and adult learners. It currently offers an academic major and minor in wine studies, as well as certificate programs in wine management and wine marketing and Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses. Linfield’s Wine Studies Program also offers a five-year cooperative program with Ecole Superieure d’Agriculture in Angers, France, in which students earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree upon completion.


The Domaine Serene Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Plan outlines the steps we are taking to help underserved minorities participate and make lasting contributions to the wine industry. The plan is outlined below, and includes partnerships with Oregon-based and national organizations and demonstrates our commitment to building a diverse workforce. 

1. An endowed scholarship program for underrepresented populations attending Linfield College’s wine program that will fund a minimum of two full scholarships a year into perpetuity.

2. An annual employee-led donation initiative supporting organizations focused on racial equity, inclusion, and social justice granting $50,000 this year and for the next 5 years on the behalf of the employees of Domaine Serene.

3. An ongoing program supporting any individual employee who wishes to make an independent donation to any organization that serves underrepresented populations within our community in which we will match 200% of that donation.

4. Team members will receive ongoing sensitivity training including equity, diversity and inclusion that covers an enhanced curriculum taught by experts from our regional communities.

5. An employee based committee to focus on equity and inclusion that meet the highest standards in our industry.

Grace Evenstad in front of a wine display


Charitable giving is an integral part of the history at both Domaine Serene and Château de la Crée. Domaine Serene wine and winery experience donations to date have raised in excess of $20 Million for charity nationwide. Founders Grace and Ken Evenstad have continued to expand their commitment to philanthropy in support of children’s charities around the country. They have donated their time and resources to many high-profile wine auctions nationally.  They have been honored as featured vintners at the The Naples Winter Wine Festival, Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation, Tum Tum Tree Foundation, Classic Wine Auction, High Museum of Art, and Carnivale du Vin.

Ken and Grace have been on the board of trustees of the Naples Winter Wine Festival (NWWF) since 2002. The NWWF was founded by the Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), a charitable organization whose mission is to support programs that improve the physical, emotional and educational lives of underprivileged and at-risk children. Since inception, the festival has raised over $135 million which, through annual grants and collaborative strategic initiatives, has impacted over thirty-five non-profit agencies and the lives of over 150,000 children. In 2006, Grace was chairman of the Naples Winter Wine festival, raising $13.7 million dollars. Over the years, Domaine Serene auction lots have raised over $2 million for the Naples Children and Education Foundation.